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American Co-Inventor of Lithium-Ion Batteries, John Bannister Goodenough, Passes Away

Renowned American scientist John Bannister Goodenough, the co-inventor of Lithium-ion batteries and a co-winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has sadly passed away. Goodenough was just a month shy of his 101st birthday. His British-American counterpart, Stan Whittingham, shared the Nobel prize with Goodenough for their groundbreaking work. Whittingham initially discovered that lithium could be stored in titanium sulphide sheets, and Goodenough perfected the concept by incorporating a cobalt-based cathode, resulting in a product that has become an integral part of people’s lives today.

Early Life and Education

John Goodenough was born in Jena, Germany, to American parents, according to the Nobel Prize website. He pursued his studies in mathematics at Yale University before serving as a meteorologist in the US Army during the Second World War. Goodenough later continued his academic journey at the University of Chicago, where he earned his doctorate in physics in 1952. He went on to conduct research at renowned institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Goodenough served as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin during his career.

Contributions to Random Access Memory (RAM) Development

In addition to his groundbreaking work on Lithium-ion batteries, John Goodenough played a significant role in the development of Random Access Memory (RAM) for computers. His contributions to the field of computer technology further solidified his legacy as a pioneering scientist.

Autobiography and the Intersection of Science and Spirituality

In 2008, John Goodenough penned his autobiography, titled “Witness to Grace,” which delved into his personal history. The book offered insights into his scientific pursuits as well as his spiritual beliefs. Goodenough explored the intersection between science and spirituality, providing readers with a glimpse into his unique perspective.

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Remembering a Great Soul and Mentor

Prof Preetham Singh from the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU), who had the privilege of being one of Goodenough’s students, remembers the Nobel laureate as a remarkable individual with a deep sense of humanism. Goodenough’s doors were always open for discussions, suggestions, and assistance, reflecting his generous and approachable nature.

Prof Ramasamy Murugan from Pondicherry University, another of Goodenough’s Indian students, speaks highly of the Nobel laureate’s outstanding qualities. Goodenough was known for his kindness, integrity, sense of humor, and most notably, his infectious laughter. These defining characteristics endeared him to those who had the privilege of knowing him personally.

The Legacy of John Bannister Goodenough

With the passing of John Bannister Goodenough, the scientific community mourns the loss of a pioneering mind and an influential figure in the world of energy storage. Goodenough’s inventions have transformed the way we power and utilize electronic devices, leaving an indelible mark on society. His legacy as a brilliant scientist and a compassionate mentor will continue to inspire future generations of researchers and innovators.

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